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Cisco-Linksys Media Center Extender with DVD
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- Bring your digital music, movies, and photos to your TV or Home Theater
- Allows you to share your photos, music and movies on your computer with friends and family
- Uses existing high-speed Wireless-N home network
- Comes built-in with an upscaling DVD player
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Sharing your photos, music and movies on your computer with friends and family has been made easy by the DMA 2200 Media Center Extender from Linksys. The device allows you to view digital photos, movies and high definition programs on your TV, and listen to downloaded music on your home theater sound system. It even enables accessing digital content and Internet services from your Microsoft Windows Vista Premium or Ultimate Media Center PC and wirelessly stream it to your home entertainment system. Its single learning remote helps you to easily navigate menus. The media extender uses existing high-speed Wireless-N home network and includes built-in upscaling DVD player.
From the ManufacturerAccess movies, your music library, family photos and HDTV programming from your Media Center PC and stream it all to your living room TV or home theater. New Linksys Media Center Extenders give you access to the entertainment content on your Microsoft Windows Vista Premium or Ultimate PC to enjoy in the comfort of your living room. Pause or rewind live TV, record sporting events or episodes of your favorite TV shows and save them for later viewing. Quickly navigate through elegant menus and programming guides. Access online movie, music and other Internet services to expand your entertainment options.
The Linksys DMA2200 integrates the latest in 1080i upscaling DVD players with Windows Media Center and streams your digital music, movies and photos to any TV in your home without running wires. With elegant and easy-to-navigate menu screens, you can play DVDs, view family slide shows, browse your music collection by cover art, listen to entire playlists or choose from a vast selection of Internet Radio stations from all over the world.
The Linksys Media Center Extender and your Windows Vista Media Center PC give you a complete PVR solution--allowing you to watch, pause, rewind and record live TV (PC-embedded or optional TV tuner required). In addition to traditional TV, you also have access to a broad set of popular Internet video services that enable you to download the latest movie releases or stream the latest releases from Showtime, Fox Sports, Nickelodeon, and more. Leveraging the robust bandwidth capacity of dual-band Wireless-N, the DMA2200 has been engineered to quickly stream rich, high-definition content directly from your Media Center PC to your HDTV and surround-sound system. Let the Linksys DMA2200 bring your digital media collection out into the living room for the whole family to enjoy.
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Phew when I first started my quest for the ultimate TV and computer solution with TIVO like recording, I couldn't believe the lack of information. Facing the challenge of every tuner card manufacturer putting out a free application to use with their card, and they all don't work. Microsoft Windows Vista Home Premium 64-bit English 1pkor Vista Ultimate with media center already built in seems to be the solution, but what cards work with it?
Then the challenge of trying to upgrade a PC to accept Vista. So I went to the Microsoft site for compatible hardware, and they had the Hauppauge card right on top. The only problem was the cards had no TV out; they only were built for watching TV on your PC. I found the ATI cards, at least the very expensive ones to have TV outs. I had bought an All in Wonder card a couple of years ago from ATI, and after all of the upgrades, and install, remove, install, remove their 4 part process to reinstall, then it would freeze up, and never work again, unless you went through 4 steps again, I don't have a lot of patience for ATI cards. It cost me 200 bucks, and makes a nice paperweight, other than doing a nice job of being a video card. The wiring hookup was another nightmare. Sparse instructions and complicated set up is an understatement. So let's stop right there. Do you want to spend 4 or $500 for an ATI card to have one TV out, for one TV to plug into? The reviewers aren't too excited.
Ok enough of the tease. The following applies to my situation. It is like making soup. Too many cooks who want to change the recipe will ruin it. This is with FREE over the air broadcasts, in a new Vista compatible PC that I built for cheap, and it is my opinion, and everyone is welcome to chime in with comments. Others appear to be having problems with cable, and other configurations, for me it is all working perfectly, like a dream I do not want to wake up from. If you have a different setup, don't vent your frustration by throwing a negative at this review, rather participate in the comments section, but be honest with your setup configuration, and how it may not apply to you. Therefore, hopefully others will input, and everyone will gain. The other thing is that this review is longer than Amazon's standard length, and I don't want to chop it up, because every part is important, so what I did was place the beginning as a standard review, and then continued the rest of it in the comments section.
Ok, here goes: I have a couple of ASUS A8N SLI boxes, one of them can upgrade with a BIOS change, and some hardware upgrades in order to handle VISTA. I needed a minimum of a 2.2Mghz chip to handle this Hauppauge 1229 WinTV-HVR-2250 White Box for System Builders Dual Hybrid PCI-E TV Tuner Board So I looked on eBay for used chips that would fit the now extinct, except for one expensive chip, the 939 socket. Used ones were going for 70 to 100 bucks, at the 2.2 level, with promises that it was never over clocked. (Yeah right) AMD says the Vista compatible chips are AMD2 and + socket style. So I looked at AMD's brand new chips, and found a 3.0 dual core for $79. Wow, then I found a cool board with all of the toys for $99 after the rebate, and suddenly decided to build a new box; one dedicated to being my media center PC. That is the way to go. 4 Gigs of good Kingston ram for only $59 after rebate. High def recordings suck 50 gigs per hour, so if you plan on loading a new program while watching your favorite TV show forget it. You'll get some picture freezes. As a dedicated box you get none of that.
Ok my situation is I use a 163 inch boom over the air antennae on the roof with a digital readout rotator. I love the fact that as one person put it, "If you get anything straight, get this, with the exception of HD DVD and Blu Ray, over the air broadcast high def is the only source that does not reduce the signal for bandwidth purposes, like the way Direct TV, Comcast, and Dish Network does. It is the only source to get truly high def, and what a beautiful picture it is, and it is all free."
So what about this Hauppauge card? If you are using it to watch movies through your PC, I can see why the yawn response might arise. Unless you have a high def monitor, the movie performance is boring. Since there are no TV outs, that is it. It is true it does not get sub channels, such as 6-2, but it does a pretty good job of getting your main channels. It gets all of the ones, except those that are not strong enough to not give you continual picture freeze, so the selectiveness is an advantage. For example it does not get channel 12 locally, and I can get that out of my dedicated digital converter box, with regular interruptions. Vista itself is not designed to receive sub-channels, but you can add them manually. (Google for the way to do that) Besides, I am not interested in recording sub-channel programs such as the weather myself. Everything I am interested in is on the primary channels.
So let me get into what I am excited about..... ( Please note, this review is too long for the normal review length, and since I can't see cutting it up, and downgrading the information, I have paused it here, and will be continuing the rest of it in the comments section of this review. Click on comments. Thanks.)
It works as advertised and will give you the MCE interface. However, unless you have a wired network or a Wifi N (operating at N speeds), do not buy this. Initially, I tried a setup where I wired the extender to my router and my PC was using wifi (g), but that wouldn't work very well. A song would start and stop half way through. After tinkering with my wifi settings and eliminating wifi-b devices from my network, it did improve but instead of one song it would stop after 3. I couldn't even think about video streaming. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought an actiontec powerline networking kit that finally did the trick. Even with 100Mbps, it still says "not enough bandwidth", but has no problem streaming HD or SD video.
The coolest thing for me is that this device will work with Windows 7 when it comes out. (The beta comes out in Jan and I will definitely be trying and reporting back).
The DVD player is adequate and it does upscale, but the quality of the upscaling is not the best you can get for the money. And, it won't upscale copyrighted DVDs (duh!). I double checked this by copying a movie to my HD and then to a double layer disc. Then it had no problem upscaling it. Pathetic!
I was expecting better codec support from Linksys, but it looks as if Linksys only has their name on the product. It really should have Microsoft on it. You don't need a Vista PC for playback of the dvd function. For you people that like to encode video on your computer and are thinking about using an extender to view it, be careful which format you choose. If it not listed as a supported file by windows media connect you can best believe it is not going to play.
The wireless worked pretty well. I have wireless-n and video playback was great, but navigating through the menus with wireless was sluggish. A wired connection was more responsive but still a little sluggish. Startup time until you get to the main menu is between 30-40 seconds. The unit is absolute noiseless. Even the dvd drive is quiet during playback, fastforwarding and rewinding.
This purchase was not for me. Like i've said many times before, you'll only be satisfied if your files are supported in windows media connect formats. I could not get WMV files to playback, but I could get WMV9 files to playback. I tried a DivX file in a AVI extension and it played fine.
Most recent customer reviews
So don't buy it!!!